Bright Smiles. Bright Future.

By Nakeisha Brownlee

After being away from South Africa for a week, I have to say, I actually missed this place.  I was extremely happy to be home (I use that term loosely). It seemed that everybody missed me too. Some even thought I left to go back to America without saying goodbye. So for my final assignment with 3c, I will be working with the Bright Smiles Bright Future Foundation. This department serves as the fundraising branch of the church and the funds go directly to the community.  I really wish this were my first week and not my last, because here they would have had work for me!

Bright Smiles has four signature initiatives:

IMG_4382Adopt-a-Scholar – This program is designed to provide underprivileged children with a hot meal every school day, school supplies, a blanket in the winter, a Christmas gift and a prayer partner.  You can adopt a scholar R50.00/month ($5.00)

Buckets of Hope – These buckets are filled with groceries and household necessities and typically distributed around the holiday season to impoverished families.  You can provide a bucket of hope for R500.00 ($50.00)

Firefly – Firefly aims to provide information to families who are interested in getting involved in making a difference for abandoned or orphaned children.  3c partners with Adoption Unit at Child Welfare Tshwane to ensure that all information provided is accurate and up-to-date.

Beautiful (my personal favorite) – Beautiful is an initiative for women who have been abused, physically or mentally.  Women from the congregation purchase a one-year devotional bible, read through it and highlight scriptures and prayers for the abused women. The bible is then packaged and wrapped as a gift and given to all of the Beautiful Women so they can start their own devotion.  Bibles can be purchased for R200.00 ($20.00).

Working in this department for the duration of my internship was a great experience.  The pastor and her assistant were more than gracious, not that I expected anything less. I learned a lot about running multiple fundraising projects, how their internal communications and databases run and the importance of keeping information current.  Although small in size, with just two people, they do the work of many.   Follow-up calls to those who have adopted a scholar to ensure they received all that was promised (i.e. ~ a picture of their scholar), setting up appointments to meet with families, the blanket drive, etc. More information on how to get involved with 3cs initiatives can be found at http://www.3c.co.za/bright-smiles-bright-future.html.

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Giving back to and taking care of the community that surrounds 3c is one of the tenets they standby.  As I mentioned in a previous post the blanket drive was a humbling experience, the smiles on the faces of the children were priceless.  When I return to the United States I am going to make a conscious effort to volunteer more in my community.  This week has been very enlightening for me.

Until next time…

Nak 

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